Tag Archives: short fiction

Happy Friday the 13th

Wow, a Friday the 13th and Halloween in the same month. Black cats beware. To celebrate, I have made these amazon kindle short stories free until Saturday the 14th.

Just Desserts is a Halloween short story about the downside of Halloween hijinks.

Playback is a suspenseful short story about a video game.

Mr. Smiley is a series of short stories about a TwlightZoneesque bed and breakfast.

Fragments of Fear: Collection contains all of my kindle short stories except for Mr. Smiley.

The Mall is a novellette about strange goings-on inside a shopping center at night.

The Trail is a suspenseful short story about a group of friends on a hike through the woods with deadly consequences.

 

Please feel free to enjoy any and all of my stories. I only ask that you consider posting a review on amazon. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines telling what you liked about the story. If you don’t feel comfortable posting a review, I understand and still hope that you will avail yourself of this opportunity. Have a great day.

BOO!

 

The Journey: Chapter 7

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection’.

 

The passengers had settled in for a long ride. The conversations had died down, and one by one the clickety-clack of the rails lulled them into different levels of unconsciousness. The lights in the passenger car seemed to dim on their own, but no one was alert enough to notice. The conductor stood at the back of the train, leaning on the railing. The wind whipped his steel grey hair as he stared out into the inky blackness.

What he saw, no human eye could tell, but it seemed to please him. He wore a small grin as a raven appeared out of the darkness, caught up with the train, and landed on the rail beside him.

“Hello old friend,” the conductor said to the bird. “How’s your unkindness?”

The raven looked at the man and cocked his head as though pondering the question, then let out a harsh cry.

“Really?” the conductor said. “I’m sorry to hear that, do send her my regards.”
The bird whistled and clicked his beak.

“Me? I’m fine,” he answered less than truthfully.

The bird eyed him dubiously and squawked.

“I never could fool you could I?” he said. “One of ‘them’ is on board.”

The bird hopped to the side and peered into the passenger window, chirping.

“The young woman on the left, third row up,” he said.

The bird quickly chirped out a question.

“I’m going to go about my normal routine, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The bird clicked its disapproval.

“What would you have me do?” the conductor asked. “Accost her in front of the other passengers? Throw her off the train? Neither is going to accomplish our goal.”

The bird croaked out a question that made the conductor wince ever so slightly.

“If it happens again, then it happens again,” he said. “She can’t torment me forever.”

The bird hung its head.

“Your concern is touching, but we have business to attend to, my friend,” the conductor said. “What are the numbers for the day?”

The bird emitted a series of chirps in answer, causing the conductor’s brow to furrow.

“I may have to make an extra trip today,” he said with a sigh of resignation.

The raven let out a long, mournful cry. The man looked at him and smiled.

“I appreciate your sympathy, but I knew what I was getting into when I took the job.”

The bird chirped softly.

“I hadn’t thought about it much,” the man said. “I suppose I could use a holiday, but who would take my place, you?”

The bird flapped its wings wildly, screaming and snapping at him. The conductor fended off the playful attack.
“You’re probably right,” he said, laughing. “You could do a better job than me.”

But the bird was on a roll. He cavorted about the railing, snapping and whistling, beating its feathers against the rail.

“Calm down old friend,” the man said, chuckling. “There’s no need for such language, I was just having a joke with you.”

As the bird settled, suddenly the night air was shattered by a woman’s piercing scream. The bird flew off and the conductor ran inside. When he arrived at the scene, all the passengers were awake, and several were crowding around the young woman. She was pale and shaking.

“What happened?” the conductor asked.

“I had this incredibly vivid nightmare,” she said, staring at him blankly.

“Can you tell me about it?” he said, inching closer.

“Really? Now?” one of the other passengers asked.

“Yes, while it’s still fresh in her mind,” he said with a hungry look on his face.

“I … I’m not sure … ” she said.

“Trust me,” the conductor said, taking her hand. “Nothing and no one can hurt you here.”

The coldness of his hands seemed to calm her as she breathed deeply.

“It started like this … ”

***
 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 6

 

The Journey: Chapter 6

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘.
“Instant Serial”
Smoke poured from the superheated barrels of his powerful handguns. Brass casings covered the floor, laying in pools of blood. Dead bodies lay here and there, littering the room like trash at a rock concert. The man slowly lowered the empty weapons, sighed deeply, and calmly walked out the door.

One down. He thought with a twisted grin, as he reloaded.  He stepped over bodies, and headed toward the main hallway, but found the door locked.

“Hmmm … ” He turned back into the room, searching for something, leaned down and took the keys from a guard’s lifeless body.

“Thanks, Leonard,” he said to the corpse.

He unlocked the door, and glanced into the hallway, first shooting out the security cameras as he had done before.  Walking down the hallway, he unlocked another door, into a room full of people in orange clothes. The guns opened up, time slowed, bodies fell.  The thump of bullets slamming into flesh and bone, and the horrified screaming, satisfied him immensely.

He went diligently from cell to cell, making sure he didn’t miss anyone, even checking under bunks. When he was sure that no living person remained, he reloaded and moved on to the next room. On he went with his possessed rampage, leaving a bloody trail behind him.

Finally satisfied with his macabre tour de force, he holstered his weapons and climbed up to the escape hatch.  He slipped into the shadows, leaving behind him no reason for the carnage.  His thoughts now were only on escape.  He stood at the edge of the roof, trying to find a way down, when one policeman saw him, then another.  They pointed their guns at him and started yelling.  Then, with a flash, he was jolted awake.

Larry Brahm opened his eyes in shock. He was momentarily disoriented, and couldn’t recall where he was. Remembering his bedroom, and the dream he’d just had, he thought,

Wow!  That seemed so real!

Looking over at the clock, he realized he had overslept. It was time to get ready for work.

“Back to the grind again,” he said, almost disappointed that his grim fantasy had been only that.

The people he had to deal with at his job had become his main source of stress. Try as he might, it just wouldn’t go away. His counselor had told him not to let the job bother him, but how could he? The incredibly vile things those people had done? They deserved to be punished, and not the justice system ‘punishment’, but something more real, more permanent.

As he drove to work, he turned up his favorite song ‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam and screamed the lyrics at the top of his lungs as the CD played.

He rounded the corner to the main entrance and was met by a sight that he would never have guessed.

No!  No, this can’t be!

Ambulances lined the front walkway. Police cars surrounded the building. The prison itself was alive with activity, with emergency workers going in and out like bees in a hive.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he could see bodies laying on the ground, neatly placed in rows, like they were being set out for spring cleaning. Each one was covered head to toe by a black plastic bag, but a few had an arm or a leg sticking out enough to see a blood stained orange inmate uniform or a gray officer’s uniform.

He walked up to a policeman.

“Excuse me, I work here, what happened?”  but the officer was too busy, and just ignored him.

He noticed some Corrections Officers from another shift standing, watching it all go on. He tried to talk to them, but they were in shock and didn’t say anything.

“Hey, you!”  a tall, good looking officer yelled to him.  “The Boss wanted me to get somebody, and go inside to see how bad the cops are messing things up.”

“All right,”  Larry said slowly.

They made their way inside. It was beyond his worst nightmare. Everywhere he looked were shell casings, bodies, bloody floors, and bullet holes.

“Wow!  What a mess!” the officer said.

The crime lab photographer, who was still taking pictures of everything, aimed right at him and snapped a picture.

“Hey!  What was that for?”  he said, as he started after her.

The officer grabbed his arm, “Don’t worry about it, she’s just doing her job.”

He looked suspiciously at her, but walked away, as she continued taking pictures as though he wasn’t there. They walked into the control unit, where blood and bullet holes littered the control panels. Suddenly he had a vision of his hand holding the gun, blasting the holes in the panels, and the officer that had been posted there.

He blinked his eyes and the vision passed, but he was now breathing hard.

“Sometimes a scene like this will do that to you,” said the officer.

“Do what?”

“Knock the wind out of you, from the shock.”

Larry eyed the officer with suspicion.

“I don’t think I ever got your name, and I don’t recognize you.”

“Oh, I’ve been here for a while,” the officer said with a cryptic smile. “You just didn’t notice me until recently.  My name isn‘t important right now.”

They walked down a long hallway, with the occasional blood splatter and chipped concrete from a bullet ricochet.  Everywhere Larry looked, he got the feeling of déjà vu. Each room he entered, seemed like he a picture in his mind of exactly what it would look like, down to the position of the shell casings on the floor.

Twice he caught the officer looking at him with an expression he would best describe as amusement. But the look would quickly disappear as soon as Larry spotted it.

There was so much blood on the floors that the investigators, EMTs, and police had to be very careful where they stepped. In these rooms, they had laid down several plastic tarps to use as walkways, so they didn’t slip or track the blood all over the building.

They entered a cell and Larry looked at the broken body of a young man he knew from the street, who was only in jail for a misdemeanor and nearly broke down.

“What kind of person does this sort of thing?”  Larry asked.

“Lots of people think about doing it. Correcting the world’s injustices is usually how they see it. Most of them lack the conviction, the final push over the edge, to make them act on it,” the officer said.

“You almost sound like you admire this monster.”

The officer looked at Larry with a gleam on his eye.

“You find monsters in the strangest places. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing anything wrong, almost like it’s a dream.”

Larry’s face went pale.

“I need to get some air,” he said.

“Sure,” said the officer, “let’s go up on the roof.”

There were two sentries posted near the roof hatch. They just ignored the officers coming out of the hatch. Larry and the officer walked to the far end of the roof. Larry hesitated when he saw yet another body.  For some reason this one was different. The officer called to him.

“Come on over.  You have to see this.”

“I’ve seen enough,” Larry said.

The officer’s voice changed, it lowered and became menacing.

“No, you must see this!”

Without realizing he was doing it, Larry walked over and looked down at the body. His own lifeless eyes stared up at him. Larry stumbled back.

“No!  This can’t be … ”

The officer smiled a mirthless smile.

“Can’t be what?  Real?” His maniacal laugh sounded like many voices at once.

“You so-called ‘Good Citizens’ are all alike. You love denial. You can deny anything. You denied the truth of this place the whole time we were walking through it. Did any of it seem the least bit familiar to you? Like … oh, I don’t know… maybe a dream?”

Larry’s eyes grew wide with realization. The officer laughed again.

“You don’t seem to realize that you made this happen. You, ‘Mr. Good Citizen’, who should have shown these people compassion at a time in their lives when they needed it most. Instead, you treated them with disdain and hatred,” he smiled. “I am so proud of you. You held on to your hate so tightly that it drove you to this.”

“I didn’t … I couldn’t … It was just a dream,” Larry stammered.

“There’s that wonderful denial again. Have you even thought about guessing my name?”

“I don’t know who you are, I’ve never seen you before.”

“I have had many names, some better known than the others.  One of my favorites that you might recognize is ‘Lucifer.’”

The name hung in the air like an acrid smoke on a calm night. Larry’s eyes and mouth grew wide with fear.

He stammered, not being able to form any coherent sound.  Slowly he worked until his mind forced his mouth to utter a single word.

“Why?”

“Don‘t ask me, you made it happen. Your hate, rage, and contempt for these people was felt and returned. That made it grow like a weed in your mind until you just couldn’t contain it. I live off of hate, so I didn’t mind it one bit, maybe even gave a little nudge here and there, to keep it going. Had you been a real ‘Good Citizen‘, you might have seen what your actions were heading toward and stopped. But your ’high and mighty’ attitude only made people hate you, which made you hate them.”

“A vicious cycle,” Larry said, finally realizing the truth. “So what happens now?”

“Now?” Lucifer said. “A few of your friends are going to take you on a little trip.”

Instantly, every one of the inmates and officers that Larry had brutally murdered, appeared and grabbed him. He tried to get away, but there were too many.

Larry felt as though the roof of the prison had turned to quicksand, as they dragged him further and further down. He looked up through a long tunnel, as he continued his rapid descent. Lucifer was looking down at him, laughing.

“Enjoy the company!” he shouted. “You’re going to be together for a very long time.”

***

 

 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 5

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection’

 

Emily stood alone in the darkness. Her only source of light was an antique, gas powered, street lamp. She couldn’t remember how long she had stood there or why. Somewhere deep in her mind, she knew she had no choice.

What is this place?  

The lamp had become important to her, it was her only companion, in fact, it was the only light in this desolate place. It was her protector, her shining knight, holding the horrid creatures at bay that she imagined lived in this darkness. This place seemed familiar, like some half remembered nightmare from long ago. Emily was sure she had been here before and the thought still gave her chills.

The light also provided her sound, the occasional flicker of the flame burning the wick and subtle hiss of gas was all she heard in the deafening silence. There were no night sounds in this place. No crickets chirped, no owls hooted, no distant mournful wail of a wolf. The thundering of her heart and the rushing wind of her breathing were all she heard, until …

What was that?

She frantically searched the darkness looking for the source of this new sound.

A train?

Finally, a pinprick of light emerged, getting stronger. Soon she could hear the ‘chuff, chuff’ of the approaching engine. She knew it was coming for her.

All at once, she felt the excitement, the exhilaration of a trip to the unknown. Just as quickly, fear settled into her mind. What new horrors would the train hold? But most of all she didn’t want to leave her lamp, her protector, and friend. As the train slowed, the massive engine lumbered by, followed by the first few cars. She had fought with herself and decided to stay at the station.

And no one will change my mind.

The train came to a stop as she stood, arms folded, resolute. She refused to leave. As the engine blew off its excess steam, a strange wind whipped around the platform. It grabbed the steam and carried it toward the lamp, smothering the flame, and casting everything into darkness. Emily’s heart leaped into her throat. It was all she could do not to scream. Panic washed over her like an ocean wave. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand it, a light appeared.

She was so overjoyed, she ran to it. Any light had to be better than this soul-crushing darkness. She approached this new light with a sense of dread. Some tall, thin old man in a uniform was holding up a lantern. She was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. She paused when she reached him, but he held out his hand and said,
“Come along now, child.”

He sounded so much like her grandfather that she took his hand without hesitation and followed him into the train. He led her to an empty seat, punched her ticket, and turned to leave.

“Excuse me,” Emily said, making him pause. “You seem familiar, do I know you?”

“That’s quite possible young lady. You seem somewhat familiar to me as well.”

“Could I trouble you for your name?” she said.

“No trouble at all,” he said. “My name is … ”

But his words were drowned out by the blowing whistle as the train lurched forward, starting down the rails again.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other passengers to attend to,” the conductor said, then continued punching tickets.

After his duty had been done, the conductor sat in a room that seemed much larger than the size of a train car. There were no decorations, no windows, only book shelves. Floor to ceiling, the walls were covered with book shelves. On the shelves were thousands of large books, each one looked identical to the other. There were no markings on them, no title, no author, only a number.

The conductor sat at his desk, writing the latest story in his newest edition. He finished, then sat back to review his work. He was restless, and he knew exactly why. The last passenger, Emily, was one of ‘those’ passengers. Every once in a while he would get one. He knew them immediately, even though they had no idea that they were different. He tried to treat them no differently than any other fare, but personal feelings sometimes crept in.

He made a mental note to treat her the same, but a subtle feeling was crawling around in the back of his mind. It wasn’t quite fear, but maybe trepidation. She had done it to him before, and even though he was certain he had her this time, doubt clawed at him like a hungry predator. Needing to clear his mind, he put away the current book and pulled out one that seemed much more worn than the others. It automatically fell open to a certain page, as it had innumerable times before. He sat back in his chair and re-read his favorite tale.

 

 

The Journey, Chapter 1

The Journey, Chapter 2

The Journey, Chapter 3

The Journey, Chapter 4

 

Haunted: a short story audiobook

Step 2. My newest video/audiobook is now up on youtube.

Once again I have borrowed the talents of Dalan Decker as the incredible narrator, and Mason Carlton to help me with the tech stuff to put this video together and make it awesome.

I hope you are enjoying these videos as much as I’m enjoying making them. If you watch, please like, subscribe, comment, and tell your friends. I would love to make many more of these videos, but that takes time and money.

Every click, like, subscribe, review, anything that gets the word out about these videos will enable me to make more.

Thanks so much for watching.

 

Puzzled, a short story audiobook

The Journey, Chapter 4

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘. 

“The Invisible”
“Spare change mister?  Got a quarter ma’am?  Hey kid, gimme
a dime.”

No one pays attention.  Not even a glance in his direction.
Occasionally someone drops a coin or two, more out of habit than wanting to help.  He is one of the invisible.  They hide in plain sight.  No one knows their name, and no one cares.  They are an inconvenience at best.

He walks out of the terminal after a day of begging and vanishes.  No one notices because they didn’t see him in the first place. He walks down a filthy alleyway and stops at a graffiti covered door. He opens it into an immaculate room in contrast to the alley and quickly closes the door. It is a room that only ‘they’ know about.

“How was your day?”  he is greeted.

“Successful!”  is his somewhat surprising response. He holds out his hand to show $1.55 in coins.

“That’s wonderful,” the other says sincerely.

He closes his eyes, grips the money tight, and speaks so low it’s almost inaudible.  Yet some of the words can be heard through the fervent whispers. “Bless”, “Help”, “Protect”, “Giver”, are a few.  His counterpart also closes his eyes and whispers.  When they are done, they end with a single word.

He opens his hand, and the money is glowing, as though it is made of light.  The other smiles at him as he gently even reverently places the glowing coins into a large bowl that is full of glowing coins.

“Come,”  the other said. “We have much to do.”

Hector Jimenez has stood in the same spot every day for the last five years, waiting for the bus.  It’s become such a habit that it’s a comfort thing now, just part of his daily routine.  If he isn’t in that spot when the bus comes, he just doesn’t feel right.  He’s been the same for five years.  Same wife, same job, same kids, the sameness is both a blessing and a curse.  He wants to try something different.

There have been attractive women on the bus for five years, but he’s always ignored them. He’s happy at home.  Lately, the women seem to be much more attractive, and he’s starting to notice.  He’s slowly making his way closer to a gorgeous blonde when some Jamaican, Rastafarian, wannabe steps in between them.  He has the multi colored hat, and dreadlocks, complete with lice that Hector could see.  He doesn’t seem to care much for personal hygiene either.

This is the first time in five years that Hector is tempted to move from his spot. Instead, he takes a step back and reads his newspaper, trying to ignore him.  In fact, he’s so involved in reading his paper that he doesn’t see the out of control car, careening toward the bus stop.  The other people scatter, but Hector is a split second too late.  As realization dawns on him, he tries to get out of the way but knows it’s futile, the car is mere feet from him. Suddenly, he feels a strong hand push him clear of the careening car. He lands on the sidewalk several feet away.  The car strikes a building and stops its unintentional rampage.  Lots of damage is done, but it seems that no one is hurt, except …

Hector looks back to where he had just been standing and there lays the Jamaican wannabe, his unmoving body was twisted and bleeding.  Five people already had their cell phones out, calling 911.  An ambulance arrives in seven minutes, and the Jamaican is taken away.  Hector tries to say something, tries to thank him, but he‘s unconscious. Hector watches as the ambulance speeds away, he doesn’t know that it will not arrive at any hospital.

Several blocks over from where Hector is reevaluating his life stands fifteen-year-old Alan Decker. Alan isn’t a bad kid or a stupid kid, he just isn’t very popular.  He fell in with some kids that took advantage of him, but he allowed it because he wanted to belong.  Now here he is, standing in the corner store on 23rd street, trying to build up the nerve to rob the place, about to make the worst mistake of his young life.  He doesn’t need the money, (not that he’ll get much here anyway).  He isn’t interested in the thrill of it, (he’s nearly peeing his pants in fear now).  So why is he doing this?  Because his so-called friends dared him to.

They gave him a gun and sent him off to the store.  He walks toward the register, knowing if he doesn’t do this now, he might not build up the nerve at all.  Just before he gets to the counter, a man in a ski mask runs in, points a gun at the clerk, and screams, “Money!  Now!”  Alan stops short.  The robber turns and looks at him.

“What are you doing?  Get on the floor!”

When the robber turns back, he’s looking down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun.  He tries to pull his gun up first but is too slow.  The shotgun goes off, unloading both barrels of buckshot into the robber’s chest, and throwing him backward.  The robber lands in a bloody heap, right beside Alan.  He watches as the life fades from the man’s eyes.  The ambulance driver doesn’t bother with CPR, it’s already too late.  Alan watches the EMT cover the robber’s face and load him in the ambulance, knowing full well that it could be his face being covered right now.  He throws the gun in the river, and never talks to those ‘friends’ again.  The ambulance drives by, reminding him that he has made the right decision.  This ambulance, also, never reaches any hospital.

A little while later the Jamaican and the robber quietly sneak into the same, well-kept room they left that very morning. Their bodies begin to glow so brightly as to blind anyone who might happen across them. When the glow faded, the two are once again dressed as beggars.

They smile at each other, and close the door behind them, on their way back to the terminal.

***

As the woman finished the story, she noticed the conductor did not seem happy. In fact, he seemed downright irritated.

“Whatever is wrong?” she said. “Didn’t you like the story?”

The conductor turned slowly and glared at her with a fire of rage in his eyes. His look chilled her to the bone. Then suddenly, he seemed to regain his composure.

“My apologies,” he said. “Your story was … nice. It just reminded me of a time when someone took something from me.”

“Oh dear,” she said. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

His face softened, and he smiled in spite of himself.

“Dear soul,” he said. “No need to fret. Thank you for being willing to tell me your story.”

Then he quickly moved on to the other passengers.

 

***

 

 

The Journey, Chapter 1

The Journey, Chapter 2

The Journey, Chapter 3

Puzzled: A short story audiobook

I know that pride cometh before a fall, but I’m quite proud of this. ‘Puzzled’ is my first short story that I’ve had made into an audiobook/youtube video.

With the help of the amazing narration of Dalan Decker, and the helpful expertise of Mason Carlton, I was able to see a dream to fruition. Having one of my stories turned into an audiobook.

I know it may seem like a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction, and I plan to make as many more steps as I can.

Just remember, every like, subscribe, share, review, enable me to make more of these videos.

Thank you in advance.

Enjoy.

‘Puzzled’

Haunted’